1. Crybaby Hollow
Suck Egg Road in Guntersville, Alabama
This long stretch of two-lane blacktop best known for being the back way connecting the wet county where the bars, grab-a-grannies, and cold beer stores are located to the dry county where I keep my house trailer on a spit of land in the Hope’s Bluff community. Due to the lack of streetlights and the narrow width and overall curvature of the road, driving down Suck Egg Road at 3am with a skinful of booze is a dicey proposition, especially once you reach Crybaby Hollow near Hogjaw Creek. A generation ago, a woman and her eleven-month-old child got themselves killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Locals tell it, during the witching hour you can hear the ghostly wail of an inconvenienced toddler. If you leave an unwrapped Baby Ruth candy bar on the shoulder of the road near the hollow, it will be gone by morning. Now, I drive that road drunk all the time, usually at an anxious 85 mph with Colter Wall at full volume cause the last thing I wanna hear is some crying kid who ain’t even alive. I’ve lost track how many roadkill varmints I’ve seen with candy bars hanging out of their furry yaps. Make of this what you will, I just wish the police didn’t have to set up checkpoints along the main thoroughfare.
2. The Vern Ryan Residence
Scant City, Alabama
Vern Ryan is best known for sucking hind teat at the factory where I occasionally dabble in employment. During the last year alone, his wife ran off with a Bible salesman, the transmission went out on his Dodge truck, his daughter contracted the clap for the third time then turned right around and failed the eighth grade for the second time, the factory cut back hours, the Scant City Optimist Club revoked his membership, he’s an Auburn fan, and, now, his house is haunted by the ghost of a Confederate soldier named Denis. This apparition supposedly antagonizes Vern with smartass comments aimed at generally undermining Vern’s confidence. I set up a video recorder and some audio recording equipment. All I came away with the next morning was footage of his mangy coon dog, Roscoe, pooping in the hallway and audio what sounds suspiciously like whimpering masturbation. I did manage to steal some of his old coins he had squirrelled away. The house definitely possesses an oppressive atmosphere. Whether it’s from a ghost named Denis or Vern’s utter failure producing the bad vibes, I can’t rightly say. Fortunately, the bank is foreclosing on the property, so Vern won’t have to worry about Confederate soldiers from beyond the grave calling him a dickhead much longer.
3. The Yellow Ribbon Lounge
I have no doubt this beer and shot joint is haunted by the restless spirits of a hundred desperately celibate men. I’ve been researching this dive bar four nights a week for the last several years, and, near as I can tell, the existence of so much testosterone-laden spiritual energy can be the only explanation for the total lack of women present every night. Even on ladies’ night, when the strawberry banana Natural Lites are half-priced, the Jello wrasslin pools remain empty. I also heard a locally famous body shop technician OD’d in the bathroom. Research is hampered by the lounge itself. Too much cigarette smoke and the constant caterwauling of Hank Williams on the jukebox hampers any serious investigation. Nonetheless, the Yellow Ribbon Lounge makes my top five list for reasons that have nothing to do with the owner/proprietor Dookie Hayes offering free drinks for a little publicity.
4. The Fortenberry Elementary : Second Floor Girl’s Bathroom
Third and fourth grade girls at the elementary school have reported hearing demonic voices and seeing strange red eyes glowing from the bathroom mirrors, specifically after chanting “bloody mary, bloody murder” three times. It seems girls at this age are prone to dabble in the satanic rituals. I took it upon myself to investigate these eldritch shenanigans. Come to find out, school administrators don’t appreciate a forty-year-old paranormal investigator lurking in their girl’s bathroom unannounced. All of which leads me to the #1 most haunted place in Northern Alabama.
5. The Aardmore Jail
Anyone who questions Aardmore jail’s ranking as the single most haunted place in all of Northern Alabama has never been locked up for an extended stay on some ridiculous criminal trespass charge. Allegedly, as we like to say in the clink, over twenty men have killed themselves within these jailhouse walls. The preferred method is hanging by their own belts. The second most preferred method is hanging by someone else’s belt. I guess they borrow the belts from the jailers. I heard all kinds of disembodied voices during my stay as a guest of the county. But, then, I was coming off a three week drunk. My stay was not a complete loss. While playing ping pong with a cell mate using two flip flops and the ball prized from a roll-on deodorant stick, I did get a lead on some haunted woods near the Hope’s Bluff community, not far from my little spit of paradise. I didn’t get to hear the entire story since my cell mate decided to commit suicide by macing himself in the face and choking himself out with a length of chain. I guess some folks hate life so much they’ll go through whatever means necessary to end their misery.
Editor’s Note: Originally, Ben Lee Holley intended to create a top ten list, but while investigating spectral voices in the Hope’s Bluff community, he allegedly ran afoul of Hoyt Pike, owner/proprietor/chief chemist of the Brindlee Mountain Crystal Meth Conglomerate. Hoyt supposedly shot Holley in the chest with a twelve gauge which resulted in Holley getting the hell killed out of him. At night, in those dark woods, meth cooks have claimed to hear spooky voices in the wind, though, admittedly, the voices didn’t have much to say worth repeating.